A Time to Kill ... A Time
By Norris Burkes
-- Words can mean different things in different locations. This point was aptly
made on a family trip to England. After my family finished a big meal in a London
restaurant, my teenager leaned back to pat her bloated stomach and announced
very loudly, "Im stuffed." I later confirmed that the queer stares
from patrons were questioning the appropriateness of her announcement to a crowded
restaurant that she was with child.
Another word with various definitions is "houseguest." It should
mean "a welcomed friend." However in California, it usually means
that the in-laws are coming to drag you and their grandchildren to Disneyland
or Fishermans Wharf all while looking at timeshares giving away free luggage
or a cruise. Generally I urge them to make the cruise a matter of "prayerful
Houseguest can be a dirty word, but not as bad a word as I saw it become
one night in a hospital ER where I was working. Radio reports from EMTs told
us that a family of stab victims were minutes from arrival.
The family had entertained a houseguest, who, unbeknownst to the family,
had begun using crack. Somewhere in the middle of the darkest night this family
would ever know, the man depleted both his source of crack and sanity. Wanting
the former, but badly needing the latter, he began demanding money and stabbing
anyone who resisted. For him, it was "time to kill."
Dad was first to resist. Mom, trying to protect both dad and baby, was forced
to prioritize her protection around baby. As our ER triaged the victims we
discovered, Dad died. Baby was straining between this world and the next,
but Mom was stable "stable" being a relative word.
But "big sister,"10, physically OK, had a psyche suspended somewhere
between logical and in control and the "whacked out" reflection
of her fathers killer.
The staff asked me to watch the child so they could work with mom and baby,
so I offered her the solace of the hospital chapel and was a bit surprised
when she followed. In the chapel, she began praying. She simply asked God
to help her family recover. "Please make everything ok. Amen."
But then she added a P.S. using words not employed around a chaplain at
least not in front of another chaplain. She demanded to know why God let her
father die. She had a few choice words for her houseguest as well.
Trauma Experts usually say that folks who are able to debrief within 24 hours
of an incident are more likely to recover faster. But when she swept the candles
off the altar and started overturning chairs, I paged a nursing supervisor.
Jeanie answered the call.
Jeannie was the kind of nurse that had not only worked her share of tragedy,
but knew personal tragedy. She placed her arms around that child in much the
same way I had seen her place her arms around her own son who was paralyzed
in an auto accident the year before. She brought her back to the ER where
a common allergy medicine coaxed her to rest and began a time to heal.
As we saw her fade into sleep, I sarcastically commented to Jeanie, "I
guess this is why we get paid the big bucks." Already I had begun to
wonder how long I could do this business of "walking among the wounded"
answering the claims made against God. The family recovered physically, but
their "time to heal" would take much longer.
Houseguest can mean different things. Sometimes it can mean overbearing in-laws
and sometimes it can mean a welcomed friend. But it can also mean the enemy
sometimes lives within. "Houseguest" can define that part of us
that invites the unimaginable into our lives.
This houseguest had a guest of his own and had invited the unimaginable into
his "house." It was the ugliest part of him awakened by a substance
that invited him to do the unspeakable.
In the end, this girl realized that she too had a choice of houseguests.
She could invite the reincarnation of the anger that killed her father into
her life and become part of the reflection of her fathers killer or she could
invite a houseguest that would initiate a time for healing.
In the wake of so much killing on 9/11, we too have a choice of houseguests.
We can invite fear and thereby allow the infiltration of the terrorists into
our own homes. Doing so invites the reincarnation of their image into our
lives. Or we can seek to reestablish good things in our house. The Apostle
Paul invited us to center ourselves on "whatever is true, noble just,
pure, lovely, good praiseworthy, think on these things."
For more information about Norris Burkes please log onto his website at
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.